HAGERSTOWN - While local officials happily greeted Friday's news that plans to move Washington County Hospital were granted preliminary approval, the action also takes local agencies one step closer to what could be another thorny political battle over hospital plans.
James Hamill, president and CEO of Washington County Health System, which owns and operates the hospital, said he was pleased.
"I see this as a home run," Hamill said Friday afternoon, shortly after the recommendation was released. "I don't think it leaves any doubt what the correct course of action is."
City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner also said the recommendation is a good one.
"I'm thrilled," Metzner said. "We need a new hospital desperately."
"We're just excited that this is completed and done," said Richard F. Trump, Hagerstown mayor-elect.
But how long the happy feelings last likely will be determined in the coming weeks, when officials begin discussing difficult political and administrative problems revolving around the hospital.